Thursday, 28 June 2007

Finally: Reinforced Regulations Can Help Protect the Supplement Buyer

Good news for all consumers: regulations are tightening over supplement manufacturers, forcing them, if they haven't already implemented such procedures, to up their standards.

FDA issues new safety rules for vitamins

For the first time, manufacturers of vitamins, herbal pills and other dietary supplements will have to test all of their products' ingredients. The Food and Drug Administration said Friday it is phasing in a new rule that is designed to address concerns that existing regulations allowed supplements onto the market that were contaminated or didn't contain ingredients claimed on the label.

Last year, the agency found that some supplements contained undeclared active ingredients used in prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction. In the past, regulators found supplements that didn't contain the levels of Vitamin C or Vitamin A that were claimed.

If, upon inspection, the FDA finds that supplements do not contain the ingredients they claim, the agency would consider the products adulterated or misbranded. In minor cases, the agency could ask the manufacturer to remove an ingredient or revise its label. In more serious cases, it could seize the product, file a lawsuit or even seek criminal charges.


GMPs could force manufacturers to clean-up

On Friday, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued the final rule on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), which some say is the most important regulatory development for the dietary supplement in over a decade.

A statute of the 1994 Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA), GMP legislation has been the missing link in governance of the dietary supplement industry. The legislation is set to provide standards specific to this industry for inspectors to check for purity, safety and legality in manufacturing.

Considering that most people do not even think about what's inside their supplement, these new regulations will (hopefully) insure quality in supplements. Of course, prices of supplements which have not before complied to these standards will go up, unless they cut costs elsewhere.

The truth is, most of the cheap brands you find in the market are of sub-standard quality. They are what made the FDA to reinforce rules on them: they may contain less nutrients than the specified amount on their label, may contain illegal substances or probably both. Some supplements do not even get digested; they just pass through the digestive track not absorbed by the body. This is most especially true if they come in rock-hard tablets. The obvious way to check this is to have your solid waste examined or have your abdomen x-rayed, but of course, most people would not want to do these if possible.


Fortunately, for those who would rather take supplements from a manufacturer that is reliable, and has already been up to those standards for years, you might want to check out my parent company Pharmanex.

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